Barack Obama and Invesco Field's Balloon Payment

Back in November, when the Democratic National Convention Committee held its walk-through at the Pepsi Center for the national media, Leah Daughtry, DNCC chief of staff, stood before hundreds of reporters and pointed to a bunch of balloons hovering above the floor. That, she said, was where the Democratic presidential candidate -- whose identity at that point was very much up in the air, like the balloons -- would stand for the acceptance speech.

The long-anticipated transformation of the Pepsi Center into the site of the Democratic National Convention was slated to start at 8 a.m. today, July 7, but before the first hammer started swinging, DNC chair Howard Dean announced that Barack Obama would deliver his acceptance speech not at the Pepsi Center, but at Invesco Field at Mile High -- which can hold 55,000 more people.

Which means the DNCC and the Democratic National Convention host committee, the Denver group responsible for raising more than $40 million to pay for convention costs -- much of them connected to the Pepsi Center retrofit -- will have to go back to the drawing board and determine what changes will be required to accommodate the Invesco speech. And, of course, what costs.

Ironically, Mayor John Hickenlooper, who's taken the lead in raising the cash, finds himself in a bind over the very building that inspired his candidacy. Back when taxpayers were building the new stadium, brewpub owner Hickenlooper led the charge to keep the Mile High Stadium name -- a campaign that resulted in the Invesco Field at Mile High compromise. It was also a campaign that inspired many brewpub customers to encourage Hickenlooper to run for mayor.

And the rest, like that early bunch of non-biodegradable balloons, is history. -- Patricia Calhoun

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